(FinalCall.com) – A majority of people who responded to questions from the BBC’s World Service global poll said they feared that the 43rd president of the United States may do more harm than good.
The survey, which took place from Nov. 15 to Jan. 5, polled 500 to 1,800 people in each nation. The margin of error in extrapolating the results varied between 2.5 and four percentage points.
On average, 58 percent of the 22,000 people surveyed in 21 nations said they believed George W. Bush’s re-election made the world more dangerous. The survey found that 56 percent of the 1,000 Americans surveyed thought President Bush’s win was good for the world, with 39 percent disagreeing.
Only in three nations (Poland, India and the Philippines) was there a majority of support for Mr. Bush.
Surprising, say observers, that nations thought to be traditional allies of America in Western Europe–such as Britain (64 percent), France (75 percent) and Germany (77 percent)–were most negative about Mr. Bush’s re-election. Italy was moderate at 54 percent negative; also quite negative were Canada (67 percent) and Australia (61 percent). People in Japan were basically noncommittal (positive 15 percent, negative 39 percent, no difference 31 percent, don’t know 15 percent).
Analysts said the poll had far-reaching implications, suggesting a serious rise in anti-U.S. feelings, in general. In a Jan. 19 press release announcing the results of the poll, Steven Kull, director of the Program of International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland, said, “This is quite a grim picture for the U.S. Negative feelings are high and are generalizing to the American people who re-elected him.”
The poll was done in collaboration with the international polling company GlobalScan, with offices in London, Toronto and Washington, D.C.
Nations with predominately Muslim populations also considered the re-election quite negative, according to the PIPA survey. In Indonesia, it was 68 percent negative, Lebanon 64 percent and Turkey polled the largest negative rating at 82 percent.
There is deep resentment of Mr. Bush in the Arab world, where he is accused of bias toward Israel, criticized for his actions against Arab and Muslim states in the war on terror, and faces warnings against any military action in the region, according to analysts.
“The more Mr. Bush expands the horizon of American violence in the region, the greater the prospect of extremism and fanaticism,” an Egyptian political analyst told the newspaper China Daily.
Doug Miller, president of GlobalScan, stated in their press release: “Our research makes very clear that the re-election of Mr. Bush has further isolated America from the world. It also supports the view of some Americans that, unless the administration changes its approach to world affairs in its second term, it will continue to erode America’s name, and hence its ability to effectively influence world affairs.”
Mr. Miller pointed out how “striking” the negative public feelings are toward the two-term president in Latin America given that the region had less direct involvement in the foreign policy issues of his first term. Argentineans were 79 percent negative, as were 62 percent of Chileans and 59 percent of Brazilians polled.
“Latin America certainly wasn’t on the first Bush agenda in any appreciative way and my impression is that it won’t be on the second Bush agenda very much either,” Andres Rozental, head of the think tank Mexican Council of Foreign Affairs, said in a story published by Reuters.
In Asia, the reaction was similar, with Filipinos (63 percent), Indians (62 percent), Chinese (56 percent) and South Koreans (54 percent) negative. In Russia, the negative reaction rated at 39 percent to 16 percent positive; no difference 32 percent, and 14 percent gave no answer. Observers said Asia wants a higher priority from the second administration of Mr. Bush, but is not holding its breath for a major shift in Washington’s foreign policy.
In the only African nation polled, South Africa posted a negative attitude of 57 percent. John Stremlau, head of international relations at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, according to China Daily, urged Mr. Bush to back proposals to relieve poverty in Africa.
“I see this as a year of great possibility. But is the political will there?” Mr. Stremlau said in the China Daily story covering the BBC survey, which was entitled, “Four more years of Bush agitates world.”